by Chris Swingle
Volunteering with Rochester Professional Consultants Network (RPCN) has helped Bob Lurz
get to know other members, showcase his own skills and stretch himself in new directions. What he's learned has prompted him to change the focus of his own consulting business, from strategic planning to helping individuals launch and develop a consulting practice.
Over 20 years as an RPCN member, Lurz has served as vice president, president, strategy leader and alliances leader. "A valuable insight I gained is that volunteer organizations must be motivated in different ways from 'managerial authority' organizations," says Lurz, of Irondequoit, who loves facilitating groups. "Volunteers must 'want to' do something for the organization, and a leader must somehow tap into that source of motivation. This RPCN experience helped me as I facilitated strategy sessions for client volunteer organizations, including Rotary, Coach University and Greater Rochester Quality Council."
Lurz founded the RPCN Business Forum in 1994, and those monthly question-answer sessions are still going strong. Moderating discussions among the diverse attendees, and hearing the answers shared, has kept his own skills and knowledge sharp.
A major contribution to the organization and to his own career path was a five-session Consulting Bootcamp that Lurz created and ran in early 2012. The workshops netted more than $2,000 for RPCN and brought in 13 new members. Speakers addressed defining your services and value, marketing, planning, pricing, insurance, and legal aspects of a successful consulting business. Participants prepared and presented a client proposal to the class and got suggestions from each other and from a panel of professionals. Feedback about the Bootcamp from the 24 attendees was very positive.
Lurz - whose background includes engineering management, human resources development, business planning and product development at Eastman Kodak Co. - says the Bootcamp work challenged and pushed him in many positive ways. By interviewing local business incubator leaders, he made influential contacts and gained insight into their training and mentoring work. The success of the Bootcamp enhanced his reputation, which prompted people at High Tech Rochester and The Entrepreneurs Network (TEN) to encourage him to start a business teaching consultants how to start up and succeed.
He has since launched that business, Consultants Accelerator
, which focuses on learning, mentoring and accountability. In his new business, he faces the same challenges as his clients, including figuring out how to best price his services. He has taken his own advice, arranging for mentoring of his own work at High Tech Rochester as an Entrepreneur Affiliate.
Designing the Consulting Bootcamp developed Lurz's reputation as "the consultants' consultant" in his network outside RPCN, which has been great for him and for the group. "People seeking consultants contact me and ask if I know anyone in RPCN who could satisfy their needs," he says.
Click here for a video interview with Bob Lurz
Chris Swingle, chrisswingle.com
, is a freelance writer and member of RPCN's Communications Committee.